Anti-abortion bill passes Iowa Senate committee

Published: Feb. 12, 2018 at 11:28 PM CST
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A state Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday advanced a controversial bill banning abortion as early as six weeks, to cheers from anti-abortion Iowans.

People on both sides of the issue packed the committee room.

The so-called "fetal heartbeat bill" would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. That can be as early as six weeks in a pregnancy.

But many say the bill will face a battle in the Supreme Court if it becomes a law.

"Any of us that are strong in the pro life movement understand that not only will this save lives, babies, the long goal is to throw this back into the courts and start the run at R v. Wade," said Sen. Rick Bertand (R-Sioux City).

Abortion rights supporters, who packed the small committee chambers for the vote, said the outcome was upsetting.

"I think an assault on the right of Iowa's women. I have personally have had an abortion and it would have ruined my life and that child would've had a horrible life if they had been born. This is just a necessary thing," said Des Moines resident Caroline Schoonover.

The bill now advances to the full state Senate.

The bill comes a year after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law banning most abortions in Iowa after 20 weeks.

The Iowa Supreme Court has temporarily blocked enforcement of disputed provisions in that law requiring women to wait a minimum of three days before they can obtain an abortion.